As a person who struggles with PTSD and Asperger’s Syndrome, I needed a service dog to help me with my severe anxiety (especially around people in public), panic attacks, frequent nightmares which contributed to my ongoing issues with insomnia, and hallucinations. I also have a history of seizures in which I fully lose consciousness and fainting spells that add some challenges to my daily life.
Since Velvet and I have become a team, my anxiety in public has lessened. When I feel a panic attack coming on, she provides deep pressure therapy by either leaning against me when I’m standing or by getting in my lap if I’m sitting which helps to calm me down. I’m also sleeping better at night because she sleeps with me and will get on top of me and lick me when I awaken from a nightmare which calms me immediately, instead of leading to a full-blown panic attack and sleepless night as they have in the past. She has also been able to detect when I was going to have a seizure or fainting spell and has alerted me by nudging me with her paw.
We have a very close bond. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She has made so many things in my life so much easier and has improved my quality of life from something as simple as helping me sleep to enabling me to go about daily tasks like running errands and shopping. We make a great team!
I’ve consistently come to trainings even though we live over three hours away, and we’ve continued to work on tasks at home that the trainers have suggested. Our relationship has become very intuitive, and she’s often able to know what I need before I even know. While there’s still a couple little things I think we could continue to work on, I receive a lot of positive feedback from people in public. Most people are impressed by her behavior, and I’ve heard store employees say: “Now that’s a service dog!” Due to the fact that so many people in my area are taking unruly “emotional support dogs” into stores or are falsely saying that their small, yippy dogs (or cats!) are service dogs (or service cats!), we’ve encountered people with negative attitudes towards service dogs who’ve been notably impressed by seeing such a well-mannered and appropriately trained dog.
I’m very thankful to have Velvet in my life.
Hello! My name is Michelle and I first learned of New Hope Assistance Dogs around May 2020. I had been researching the purpose and benefits of Psychiatric Service Dogs for years and I was finally ready to take the next step. I reached out and linked with New Hope and at the end of June I was asked to travel to Warren, PA. to meet Lakeland.
On the entire ride to Warren, up until Lakeland came bouncing in the room, I was so anxious. He was a five-month old Goldendoodle and he was EXCITED! He came over to me, put his paws on my shoulders, licked my face and my anxiety melted. I took him home that day and my life has never been the same.
While he is still young and still in training, having Lakeland in my life has been so beneficial! I can go in public alone without panicking. When I am overwhelmed and anxious Lakeland can perform (DPT) Deep Pressure Therapy and his body weight calms me as do his kisses!
Since I first got Lakeland I have had medical issues come up as well and I was diagnosed with (POTS) Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which causes my heart rate to elevate to extreme levels and puts me at risk for losing consciousness. We are working with Lakeland to be able to detect these changes in my heart rate and alert me before it becomes too serious.
Lakeland has given me my life back; he’s given me a sense of freedom that I have missed so much. I am so blessed to have him as my partner.
Story coming soon!
When our daughter Victoria was born in 2003 it was completely unbeknownst to us the long road we would all have in front of us. The day after she was born she started turning cyanotic and they said it was either pneumonia or a heart murmur, it wound up being the latter plus a separated aortic arch. This lead to a month long hospitalization following her first open heart surgery. It was also at this time that we found out that Victoria suffers from DiGeorge Syndrome. DiGeorge Syndrome is a rare condition, affecting approximately 1 in 4,000 people, in which a large range of symptoms can occur. Victoria has quite a few of them, including the heart anomalies, multiple blood disorders, scoliosis, autism, learning delays, anxiety, a lowered immune system, arthritis, asthma, ADHD and hypoparathyroidism. Victoria has had 5 open heart surgeries, a full spinal fusion, plus multiple other hospitalizations, all of which have contributed to a fear of infection and endless doctors’ office visits. It is our hope that Yvette will help Victoria not only function better in day to day living but also lessen her anxiety so she can enjoy life to the fullest again. Following a septic event in 2016 Victoria’s anxiety became overwhelming. She no longer wanted to leave the house to crowded areas, including school (she is currently homeschooled due to infection risk and anxiety surrounding it), she became highly irritable due to the constant stress, this anxiety and stress lead to her no longer enjoying what she had previously enjoyed in life. She is unable to be medicated for it due to her heart condition. Yvette will be able to help Victoria in multiple different dimension of functioning. She will help lessen these anxieties/stresses, she will be able to help Victoria get items that she drops/can’t get to due to her spinal fusion, she can help with balance issues related to arthritis and spinal fusion. All these areas that Yvette can help in with be a huge asset to Victoria's daily living and will help Victoria be the fun loving kid she once was.
Story coming soon!
Story coming soon!
Visa has been life changing for our family. Liam has made so much progress because of Visa. The healing didn’t begin until he got her. She not only calmed and comforted him, but she has helped his self confidence. Her presence bridges the gap when he is in public. He takes great pride in how well he has trained her and that has also helped his self esteem. Just yesterday a dog trainer who works at St. Frances saw Liam and Visa in public after a situation occurred with another supposed service dog and she approached Liam and complimented Visas training. He had a smile from ear to ear. Just a few weeks ago Liam was able to stay overnight at my parents without Visa and I dog sat. It may sound trivial to some but it is huge to us. There was a time he could not go to visit for an hour with out an anxiety/panic attack. He is concerned that someone will take Visa if he gets better but we know there will always be times he needs her. There was a time when I couldn’t shower with out Liam being right outside the door or go to the washer or wood stove with out him behind me and forget leaving the house. I don’t know where he would be without her coming into our lives. She came at just the right time 10 days after her arrival our daughter was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Because of visa I won’t hesitate to get a service dog for her when the time is right. I can’t thank Service Paws enough for their help.
Story Coming Soon!
Story Coming Soon!
It has been almost 2 years since Klohe has joined our family. We feel so blessed to have been chosen to receive a fully funded service dog from United Fund of Warren County for our special needs daughter, Rylan. Rylan was diagnosed with Dup15q Syndrome. A rare genetic disorder that can cause intellectual disability, Autism and Epilepsy among other things.
When we first applied for a service dog, we were hoping for a seizure response dog. As well as having a service dog sleeping in our daughters bed as she struggled to sleep alone due to her Sensory Processing Disorder.
We didn't realize a service dog could offer our daughter so much more. From helping keep Rylan safe in public to calming her during meltdowns.
Last year Klohe traveled across the US in an RV with us to attend the Dup15q Alliance Family Conference in Los Angeles California. We made many stops along the way to see the sights. Each time we hooked Klohe and Rylan together to keep Rylan from running off, as she likes to do. She doesn't quite understand boundaries or safety.
In the past 2 years, we have watched their bond grow. As Rylan becomes more verbal she will now give Klohe some basic commands. I expect this to continue as Rylan's vocabulary grows. With Autism, children can struggle socially. While Rylan is social, her attention span can be limited. She often uses Klohe as a peer, playing tea parties with her. This has transitioned to her classroom peers.
With Rylan having an 80% of having seizures in her life, it is comforting to know Klohe is bonding with Rylan now and will be able to alert us of seizures. I suspect as Rylan ages she will utilize Klohe even more in daily living needs.
We are truly thankful for New Hope Assistance Dogs, Klohe and her dedicated trainers and the United Fund of Warren County. Without your support we would not have been able to provide Rylan with a Service Dog.
There is so much I could say about New Hope Assistance dogs, but I will do my best to make this short and to the point. My son was diagnosed with epilepsy around age 1, and by almost 3 we realized that we needed to do something more than what we were doing to help safe guard him against his night time seizures. I spent weeks calling organizations only to be told repeatedly that our son did not meet the age requirements for a service dog. I had almost given up hope. Fortunately for us New Hope Assistance Dogs was our saving grace, and they agreed to work with us to get our son matched with a Seizure Response Dog. Since that day our lives have been changed forever. Leah, my son’s Seizure Response Dog, has not only been a safeguard for him, but she is truly his best friend. They are virtually inseparable. She does so much more for our son than I ever anticipated she would. New Hope was amazing to work with for the entire process. Everyone was incredibly helpful, kind, compassionate, and understanding. They put so much time and effort into their work, and their dogs. I cannot recommend them enough. Tammy and Trainer Amy have become a part of our family, and I can’t imagine going back to a life without these amazing people in it! We are forever grateful!
Testamonial Coming Soon.